NZ Communications seeks 0240, 0245 mobile prefixes

Application could see Scott Base getting new area code

Mobile telco-in-planning NZ Communications has applied to the Number Assignment Deed (NAD) Management Committee to have the entire 0240 number range allocated to it.

Documents sighted by Computerworld say the 0240 (Antarctica) and 0245 codes should be allocated to NZ Communications when they become spare. The NAD committee believes allocating the entire 024 number range to NZ Communications will allow the potential new entrant to the mobile market to compete efficiently with incumbents Telecom and Vodafone.

The 0245 code is currently assigned to Walker Wireless/Woosh, with 0240 being the prefix for the Scott Base in Antarctica, which may have to change its area code.

A proposed time-table by Telecom has Antarctic New Zealand migrating off the 0240 number range over a thirteen-month period. Only general discussions on the number range migrations have taken place between Antarctic New Zealand and Telecom New Zealand, with no agreement on the migration plan being in effect yet.

Katherine Murphy, speaking for Telecom Wholesale, says NZ Communications, formed after Econet restructured, has only been allocated codes 0241 to 0249 inclusive. 0240 remains as a Telecom code, used for AntarcticaNZ.

Telecom, in conjunction with the telecommunications industry is exploring the possibility of moving AntarcticaNZ off 0240 to another code, so that 0240 can be freed-up, she says.

Murphy adds that preliminary informal discussions have been held with AntarcticaNZ on this issue, but no decisions have made. Further work on feasibility and ramifications of such a change will be undertaken, involving all impacted parties — including AntarcticaNZ’s partners on the ice; the Americans and the Italians.

Mike Mahon, AntarcticaNZ’s IT administrator, confirms NZ Communications has asked for the whole 0240 number range, but says that at this stage, there is no agreement or timeframe to move the Scott Base numbers.

According to Mahon, the 02 409 series is also used by Telecom to provide calling services to the US McMurdo base and also the Italian Programme.

NZ Communications was contacted repeatedly by Computerworld for comment, but didn’t get back to us.

Meanwhile, analyst firm IDC expects NZ Communications to struggle to win market share beyond 3%-5%.

Telecommunications analyst Tim Shepheard says in a research note published this month that while a third mobile entrant will “only be an upside for New Zealanders, it will face incredibly difficult market conditions”.

“New Zealand Communications is unusually late to the game, and is entering a market with 105% mobile penetration and two heavily backed incumbent operations,” he writes.

Shepheard cites Hutchinson’s 3 network in Ireland, which after five years only achieved 4.4% market share.

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Tags new zealand communicationsNz commsNetworking & Telecomms ID

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